University Preparatory Pushing STEM: What about the Arts?

The Push for Passion in a STEM World

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Janelle White

Eye-Catching Sketches: Junior Juniper Ceja looks upon her sketchbook alongside her newly bought pens, displaying one of her more recent works that she takes pride in. With it's lively colors and unique art style vividly in contrast to the paper it's drawn on, Ceja says: “Art is underrated. People don’t understand the work that goes into it.” The work shown behind creative artist Ceja also belongs to her, showing the rough sketches of characters she brings to life on the page.

University Preparatory is a school with high prestige for producing the most qualified students for college. With the counselors preparing kids with an outline of classes for the incoming school year, it’s not hard to notice that the majority of the electives offered on campus are in favor of STEM- a curriculum that prioritizes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It leaves the majority of those interested in art wondering what happened to the importance of having a safe place to express their talents.

Some may remember seeing an “A” in the well known acronym. This A stood for arts- promoting a central focus on the creative aspect of learning. Though STEM has taken more dominance in the world of education, there are still students who would appreciate the art representation. For example, Village STEAM School is an elementary school in Victorville that has intense focus on the arts, renaming the school to reflect their curriculum. According to the principal of Village, “Art is another way for the kids to express themselves, and you are even able to trace it back to all the other subjects.”

Junior Juniper Ceja is an artist on campus who creates original works and would enjoy having an opportunity to create for a grade on campus. She has a long history with art, drawing since she was only three years old and has improved to this day. “I feel like we should have art included. A lot of kids in this school are very artistic, and they can’t really expand on it because we don’t have a class here.” Ceja still realizes the problem with the introduction of a new class.
“I think it’s a money issue, and people just don’t think it’s important. There’s also not a lot of art teachers up here too. Not a lot of people think it’s important,” Ceja continues, “then they realize we want to have a career in it and they’re like, ‘Oh! What do you mean? It’s just a hobby!’”

I feel like we should have art included. A lot of kids in this school are very artistic, and they can’t really expand on it because we don’t have a class here.”

— Juniper Ceja

Ceja wants to pursue doing art in her future, and has decided that she wants to be a conceptual game artist. Ceja says that the job consists of creating character designs and landscape drawings that is demanded for a game, and requires the artist to bring plans to life. Adding on to Ceja’s experience with art, she has taken the VVC art class that was provided to University Preparatory students on campus in the previous school year. “It was fun at times. I did landscapes that were super detailed,” she explains excitedly, recalling the class, “I didn’t know I could do it, but I guess I could. It’s really good at teaching you, but they didn’t really let me explore my own art style. I came there to improve my art style, but it was okay. It was more like a ‘beginner class’ and getting techniques out of the way and then expanding on it.”

Ceja continues to speak about the lack of classes on campus, “I’d make a whole presentation for Mrs. Hatcher on why we should have art classes. I should. I think that’s what this school is missing. Like I said before, this is more of a school for people who want to be engineers and things like that. I just still want those art classes.” Ceja stands her ground when it comes to art classes, and is looking forward to a future hand-in-hand with the arts. Ceja is currently making money off of her art, and is offering commissions depending on the size of the piece.

University Preparatory finally explored into the deep depths of an infinite world of creativity, and decided to offer it’s AP class: AP Art History.  Making it’s first appearance on the class sign-ups provided by the counselors this March, this class will be offered to students who are interested in taking it. The class will be taught by none other than Mrs. Faison, a beloved history teacher on campus.

Janelle White
The Visual Aspect of History: Mrs. Faison has colorful walls, covered in the works of her students. Mrs. Faison will be teaching the AP Art History class next year if enough people apply. Junior Juniper Ceja says her opinion on the class, choosing not to take it in her senior year: “A lot of people are interested, and that’s good but I’m an artist. Not an artist admirer.”

Mrs. Faison advocates for art in a student’s curriculum. “It tells a story of history in a visual way, and it makes points in history. It shows how society changed, and it inspires people.” Mrs. Faison decided to start this class because she says it’s a mix between two things she loves: Art and History, like the AP class says straightforwardly.

With the constant push for the sciences at UP, it’s a breath of fresh air to see an art class offered among the many STEM focused courses. Whether AP Art History paves the way for future fine arts classes or not, it’s definitely an opportunity many should take advantage of.